I obtained my first manual SLR in 1978 and I have been taking photographs, mainly of wildlife and landscape, ever since. In those days I used slides. I still have my archived collection of over 4,000 35mm transparencies. Main themes include woodland trees and shrubs. I have images of seeds and flowers of all the common trees and shrubs in the UK, Herefordshire and Worcestershire landscapes, in particular the green landscape of Worcester City, from the 1980s and 1990s and then in line with my occupation, hundreds of slides of ponds and amphibians from across the region. They are scanned when needed for documents or for sale.
In 1992 I used a Bronica ETRS. It still produces wonderful quality photographs on 120 format but is rarely used now. Most of my landscape photographs on the Nature Picture library were taken with this camera. In 2004 I went over to digital with a Nikon Coolpix to supplement the Nikon F100. Then in 2006 I upgraded to a Nikon D200, and to the D300 in 2008. Through my work as Wildlife Consultant I was constantly coming across great photographic opportunities.
What lives in ponds is rather on the small size, so a high quality macro lens is a must. The Nikon AF-S Micro Nikkor 105 mm 1:2.8 ED is ideal for this purpose. This professional standard lens has produced some excellent images, particularly the palmate newt and large diving beetles shots on the Nature Picture Library website. The Nikon ED AF-S VR Nikkor 70-200 1:2.8 G professional lens was used to take some wonderful photographs, particularly in Malawi and Mozambique in 2009. It was here I took a great photo of the passengers aboard the lifeboat from the Lake Malawi ferry teetering on the edge of capsizing and elsewhere used to take shots of the yellow baboon sitting on the wall on the shore of the lake.
Here in the UK, I am building up a collection of photographs of pond life with good success and would like to continue that process for the next couple of seasons with a view to producing a top rate PowerPoint presentation on UK ponds. The macro lens will play a large part in this. I have until now set the camera setting to get a good depth of field so typically it has been set at F16. I often find the built in D300 flash, which provides excellent results if it is used to provide fill. I often choose to provide context to my photographs, for example if a newt chooses a weedy shady pond in which to breed, why depict it in a tank with no background in view? The pond plants are context so I like to show them with pondweed, in this case hornwort.
I have to accept that a lot of publishers don’t like what they call cluttered backgrounds, but balance needs to struck otherwise we’re going see more photographs manipulated in Photoshop. I probably will in future bracket my macro shots between the optimal lens setting F8, which will blur part of the background, and F16 which usually keeps a lot of the background in view.
Anyone needing images of ponds and associated wildlife, tree and shrub flowers and seeds local landscape scenery from Herefordshire and Worcester or any other nature subject matter is welcome to contact me. You’ll be initially sent sample low resolution jpeg images and can purchase the full higher resolution version through negotiation, depending on usage and typical target audience.